Tag Archive | series

Red Dust Runaway, Eva Scott

Red Dust Runaway, Eva Scott

Red Dust Runaway by [Scott, Eva]

Genre:  Romance,

I wasn’t sure about this, I do love rock star romance but this is kind of a side issue rock-star theme. It was a great read though, a real escape.

I loved Iris and Kit.
I so felt for her, a father that’s very domineering pushing his ambitions for her, rather than seeing what she wants. That happens. We say “she’s 20, why not stand up to him?” but after her mum died she came to live with him age 8 and he’s been directing her life ever since. Very single minded in his ambitions for her.
She’s always gone along with it, well at 8 you don’t challenge parents, and as she got older its just become her accepted norm doing what he says, wearing what he says, eating what he says, practicing her violin for six hours or more each day….then a chance conversation with her next door neighbour leads her to thinking “what if” and seizing the chance for an adventure with her Nan’s help. She sounds a great lady, I’d love to be her!

Then there’s Kit, discovered at a young age by The Major, and moulded into an award winning star. Its all he’s known since his early teens and the last two years have been none stop touring.
Both he and the band are fractured, sniping and bitching at each other, shattered by the constant stress of performing and publicity. Its pressure all day every day, and he feels sick of it. Music was his love, his dream and its in danger of becoming his gravestone.

He knows something has to give, he’s in pain every day, popping painkillers just to get through, drinking too much, he feels ill, can’t sleep, can’t relax. He feels headed for a breakdown and the Major isn’t listening.
He tells himself he’s leaving the band after their last concert in a few weeks, but he’s a two week break til the next one, and though The Major has filled each day with interviews and promotional stuff he just can’t hack it. Then he sees Iris and persuades her to let him go along with her.

Its a fabulous journey, where they get to know each other slowly, meet some great people, have a real adventure and fall in love.
One big barrier though. It seems everyone in the world knows who Kit is…except Iris. He loves being seen for himself, a real person and not the image he has to project, and then as they’re together longer the chance to tell her the truth slips away til it all comes crashing down.
Can he get her to trust him again?
Stars: five,a great read, a real piece of escapism in every sense of the word and a perfect HEA.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Stone Warriors: Kato, Book 2, Stone Warriors Series, D.B. Reynolds. Warrior of Fire, Shona Husk.

The Stone Warriors: Kato, Book Two of the Stone Warriors Series, D.B. Reynolds

The Stone Warriors: Kato by [Reynolds, D. B.]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, Wow. I think now I understand the overall plot and world building I really need to go back to book one, as I’m sure I’d rate it higher than I did on first read.
Some series are like that, it takes another book or two before the overall theme falls in to place for me, and this clearly is one such.
I think part of it too was over-expectation, I so love ViA, and was hooked from book one and expected this to be the same.

Its is the same great writing though, full of people who feel real, who I have strong mental images of, ladies who aren’t simpering kittens waiting for a big strong man to save them 😉
Grace is anything but one of those, though our and Kato’s first impressions could be forgiven for thinking that, because that’s the image she tries to project. she’s more than that though and a perfect lady for Kato.

He’s the second stone warrior, and I kept thinking how awful, to be trapped like that for thousands of years, seeing and hearing everything but unable to interact.
Sometimes books have things happening and I think “ how very convenient that he/she does that riiigght at this point”, and you could feel that about Kato coming out of imprisonment just in time to save grace from the Demon. D.B has the answer though, she’s made it so there’s a very real explanation why things are happening just now, and weaves every small thing into part of the larger overall plot that threads though the series.

Its another great read, a race against time to stop demons from being unleashed and creating mayhem. Another, well..brush with danger feels too subtle, its more than that, another solid drama where the characters face a horrible death over and over, but manage to scrape through, and without using any of that New Skills Gained Just at the Optimum Moment that I so hate. You know the sort, he or she has just learned of their place in the supernatural world, takes it in their stride, and by  the fourth page or so they’re killing the bad guys the others have been fighting and losing against for centuries, using some new skill that showed up just as the Demon or whatever is about to kill them! Gah, that really annoys me.
D.B doesn’t ever do that, and though here Grace saves the day a few times, it works because she’s the skills needed already, the training to keep calm and deal comes from her background. She gained her gun skills as a child, and as an adult she’s been involved in some dangerous and scary dramas. Add in how clever and analytical her mind is and she’s perfect for Kato.

I loved catching up with Damian and Cass, and yep, now want to re-read their story.
Two more warriors to go yet, and of course there’s also Nick, Nico, Nicademus…what a guy he is. When we first met him back in the early, the first book I think of the ViA series he was almost a throwaway guy, Cyn’s friend with benefits hot guy, but he grew in importance in later books, and then we learned he’s a powerful sorcerer.
I love how these two series interact, how we get snippets of other characters, even if only in conversation or thoughts.
I can’t help but wonder if there’s someone special in Nico’s life planned? The mysterious talented Lili maybe – or perhaps someone from the Via series? Loads of possibilities to pick from, and I look forward to D.B.s next book(s) of either series.

Stars: Five, a cracking, riveting, engrossing read and a great addition to D.B’s series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Warrior of Fire, Shona Husk

Warrior of Fire (Blood & Silver) by [Husk, Shona]

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

I really enjoyed Lady of Silver, the intro book to this series. that featured Saba, an Albah lady and Dale a human cop.
This book is about Liera. Saba’s sister, who we met in book one as a secondary character, and Julian who’s a son of cop Quinn, who is also the Albah’s “King”. Its a title that’s really name only, they don’t meet or live closely as its too dangerous.

There’s a faction called Guardians, who are out to kill Albah, though supposedly there’s been a truce for the last 200 years. Strange though how so many Albah die in accidents. That’s what happened to Julian’s mum, she died in a car crash when he and his younger brother were in the car. Its affected them both, as traumatic events do to young children, and they’re not a close family. In fact Julian has been away for the last 12 years and only returned six months ago.

He’s been working at a local hospital, somewhere he can put his healing skills to use without creating attention.
See that’s the thing the Guardians won’t recognize, that most Albah just want to be responsible, to do good and work in fields where their talents are best use to humankind. As far as Guardians are concerned the only good Albah is a dead one.
Its that potential to turn into an immortal blood sucking murdering Alabanex that worries them so they think killing all Albah means humans are safe. Shame they don’t focus on how humans can become murdering vicious killers too, or even look at their own behaviour, murdering parents, children, wiping out whole families proudly and bringing up their kids to believe in the same.
Hate rhetoric is so pervasive when instilled from a young age and that’s what’s happened here.

Julian has been having a “casual” relationship with a woman for the last few months. He doesn’t know much about her, that’s what he likes, physical only stuff, no need for pleasantries and socialsing, not knowing she’s a Guardian and a killer.
She’s come to do a job, make her first kill and become a real Guardian, a role she’s trained hard for, encouraged by her Guardian mother and family.
She’s finding it hard though, she’s become attracted to Julian even though both agreed upfront this was simply a casual fling, and now she’s becoming clingy Julian is thinking the time has come to part ways. she won’t like that!

Liera has always known she’s meet the love of her life on a train, she and Saba are very good at seeing into the future, though its not fixed but depends on paths taken by individuals.
She doesn’t know who her future is with though, and so is astonished when she feels a visceral reaction to Julian at a meeting of the local Albah. It’s where they connect via the internet with others to discuss recent events. Julian feels the attraction too but its a kind of muted pull for them both, not a huge insta-lust kind of thing. Jut that feeling of rightness when they connect with each other.
Liera is puzzled. What about the future she and Saba had seen?
Julian isn’t sure he’s ready yet either, he’s always felt he would marry an Albah. His people need the males that come from only Alabah pairings, but he thought that was way in the future, loads of time yet. Until now he’s been content with simple casual relationships, like the current one with Emily. This has thrown him though,made him question that, and he decides Emily’s been getting clingy lately, not what they agreed and its time to let go.

She is Not Happy though. Pressure from home about why she hasn’t killed him yet and the excuse she’s given, he could lead her to more is wearing thin. Now he’s dumped her, and as she’s been spying on him she sees him meet Leira and just knows it’s all down to her. the knives come out, Liera is in the way, time to move her. She knows now Leira is an Albah so has no worries about killing her, she’s been brought up to beleive thats the right thing to do.

It all leads to a cracking story, brings danger to the Albah, not just here but across the globe, makes them think about the future of the race, brings the Guardians into the series in a big way and is a hugely entertaining read. One that flows easily, has that element of suspense I love, the wondering what if, and how will they…?
The romance too, I enjoyed that, the doubts both had, it makes a change from the one-look-and-they-are-in-love scenario we see so often. Instead they both talk, tread carefully, think about how they feel inside.

There’s no simply quick fix solution for the future of the Albah. It needs some decision if they aren’t to die out, and the way they’ve lived for the past few hundred years needs to change. Using the internet they can conference, avoiding the dangers when large groups get together, and hhopefully make changes to their lifestyles the majority agree to while keeping safe.
Maybe the time for Quinn as king has become the era for change, for the role to become more than the lip-service one its been. He’s certainly a decisive enough character to generate momentum for change.

I really enjoyed this installment, loved meeting Dale and Saba again, was intrigued as to how things were going to work between Julian and Liera, whether the change of place of their first meeting meant their future had changes in a big way, and of course the drama with Emily was pretty solid and full on.

I found it easy to believe in Emily, that she’d been brought up and trained to kill Albah, but in her greed to kill more by finding Julian’s family she actually came to like him, to see the good he did. Somewhere deep in her psyche she had to rationalise why she hadn’t killed him yet, rather than admit she was falling for him. She was a twisted individual but also a product of a very dark upbringing, brainwashed that Albah were all bad, potential killers.

Its an easy read, well paced, solid writing. Its not as in depth as many fantasy reads, but a fun story that made me look at the characters as individual, see them as real people, and wonder just where the story is going next.
I’m really hoping Quinn gets some happy, right now he gets all the flak and doesn’t really seem to have anyone close to support him when it goes bad.

Stars: five, a great story, building on the first one and expanding the world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

New Moon, Lisa Kessler. Chief’s Mess, L.A. Witt

New Moon, Lisa Kessler

New Moon (Moon Series Book 8) by [Kessler, Lisa]

Genre:  Romance, sci-fi and fantasy

We’ve reaches the end and I’m always feeling conflicted when that happens. In part because I love a good series and its hard to say goodbye, but set against that is the feeling of satisfaction when the little clues throughout the series are finally wrapped up, when we know who was behind things and why, how it all worked out.
With a good series we’re left feeling hope for the future, that these people we’ve got to know so well are facing a time when they can finally relax, live a normal life, enjoy their friends and family. Still, I love rereading series so from me its not really Goodbye but See you later 😉

The back to back reads through a whole series work best for me too, when each book is still fresh in my mind, so its easier to follow the story, recall which character fits in where. Sometimes after months and lots of other reads its hard to recall exactly who belongs with whom, and how they fit in the overall story.

I remember Sebastian from the first book, and he’s changed. Or has he? Maybe its just my perception of him, as looking back the seeds of his discontent were clear even back then, but i just didn’t see it.
Its a great author who can turn around a character so the callous, murdering, immoral man we met becomes someone we love, who we want to have that HEA…but Lisa does it for Sebastian.
I found he was a terrific man, that he had been trying to put things right as much as he could for a long time, and with a father like his no wonder he grew up to be the man he was. Thank god for his mother’s influence, its whats kept that core of humanity in him.
Sebastian and Isabelle don’t have the best start, with her trying to kill him….well, until her wolf tells her she Just Can’t Kill Him! That’s a bit of an eye opener and changes everything. Isabelle is shocked.

Its another fabulous adventure, when plans get made, and changed and remade all the time. Nero has really hit bottom in its actions here, kidnapping a child for Antonio Severino’s cruel crusade, but it proves the catalyst for some unheard of co-operation.
Things quickly change in the story as the plots unfold, and this final book brings in many of the characters we’ve met in the preceding books. It opens up the Packs even more than they have been. It was a struggle getting Lana accepted into the pack, as she was a jaguar shifter back in the early books but since then they’ve become more accepting, less Wolf only insular and that’s given them an edge they needed for this final battle.
They’re not just a wolf pack now but have Jaguars, Psychics and humans among them and that’s given them strength, and maybe what Fate intended, that supernaturals work together, find power in collectivety.

I’ve enjoyed the series as a whole, and love this last book. Looking back to some of the books that weren’t quite top whack I can see the gaps that bothered me back then filled in now and I understand why things played out certain ways.
Despite not all the books being five star reads for me, the series as a whole deserves a solid five stars, it all adds up now.

Stars: five,a great read to finish a fantastic series

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Chief’s Mess, L.A. Witt

Chief's Mess (Anchor Point) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved the first book in this series, but the second did nothing for me.
Still,  LA Witt is one of my favourite m/m authors so I thought I’d try book three.

It wasn’t a great read for me, I just didn’t feel I Knew the characters, just a surface opinion of them, and I really want to feel book characters can be people I know. I need them to feel real for me to get invested in what happens to them.
Here I just didn’t, they were just two anonymous guying hooking up for hot sex.

They were very alike in many way, and TBH I kept getting confused, right up to the end, about which was which.
Not a good thing, and when characters are well fleshed and distinct not something that happens. I think maybe there could have been – for me, not for everyone of course, a little less sex in the first half and a bit more character and plot building.

I mention the plot, and that really is pretty simple, Noah ( and see? I almost wrote Anthony there – had to check it) is a functioning alcoholic, and like many others doesn’t recognise he has a problem.
Of course for Anthony that’s a bigger trigger than it maybe would be for others, his ex brother-in-law was an alcoholic, and that caused great distress for his sister and their kids.
I liked the build up, though it was pretty muted and did make Noah come over as judgmental rather than sympathetic, but the way things played out felt very simplistic, and its rarely as easy as that.
I guess there wasn’t space to go into any depth, but in reality it would have been far, far harder.

Stars: three, it was just an OK read for me, and maybe I need to look carefully before accepting any more Anchor Point novels.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Hunter’s Captive, Cassandra Bella. Memory of Love, JJ Keller

Hunter’s Captive, Cassandra Bella

Hunter's Captive by [Bella, Cassandra]

Genre:  Romance, Mystery and thrillers

I enjoyed this story, but parts were a little hard to take, and though they moved the tale to where it needed to be they lacked real credibility.

Paxton, rich girl, daddy’s girl, trust fund baby, shared a beautiful summer with Hunter ten years ago. Then it all went wrong, and he’s been bitter about it ever since.

He’s focused on his career, and the boy from the poor side of the town has done well, is a top agent and he thinks he’s moved on.
Then the case he’s on involves Paxton. He can’t bear to think of her locked up just because its her wedding day to the jerk who’s finally being brought in. So….he kidnaps her.
That part one of the hard to take bit. Would a professional really do that? and get away with it with his boss and colleagues? Still, they’re on the run now and it seems her fiancee has sent killers after them.

Paxton is so angry at Hunter and thinks he’s just doing this out of revenge. Her fiancee a wanted man? Please ( roll eyes), he’s not like that she says, he’s a good man, her father admires him, he’s a solid businessman.
She won’t believe Hunter until the others track them down and they’re running ( well driving) for their lives, at breakneck speed down the mountain side. How did they find them?
Well, that’s the second hard to take part. She’s an intelligent woman and would she really do that? I can see the first part, out of concern and worry but the second thing she lets out, perleease…she’d have more sense surely. Or maybe she is just a dumb blonde…

Anyway, there they are running out of danger and the tensions are high. The attraction between them that each thought was gone is clearly still there, and before long they’re talking about the past, have become close again, very close and are into some erotic and sensual sex. Can they have a future?

Well, first thing is to escape the danger they’re in..

Its a fun read, some hot and heavy sensuality, some danger and excitement and made for a decent read to pass away a coupe of hours.

Its not one I’d re-read, but I did enjoy it despite those couple of irritations in inconceivability factor.

Stars: four, a decent but one off read for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Memory of Love, The Valkyrie Series, JJ Keller

Memory of Love (The Valkyrie Series) by [Keller, JJ]

 

Genre:  Romance,

I was so taken with the synopsis that I didn’t do my usual checks so missed that this was thrid in a series, and also its a novella. My bad.

Lots of readers love them, but for me they just don’t work, I don’t feel they have the space I need to understand the story, the characters or really get to feel for them.

Its a good read if you are following the series, and of course, if you like novellas.

I was able to keep up with the story OK, but it would have worked better for me if I’d read the first two books, as the characters and plots follow – or I assume they do – from things that happened back then. It meant I had to guess at parts, and how each person was connected.

Its a fun read, I liked the Viking legend part, something not often seen in fantasy sadly, as its very interesting and can create some great stories.

If you’re happy with shorter reads this could be a great series for you. For me it’s just not in-depth enough, even if I had read the first two novels.

Stars: three, interesting premise, and a good series if you like shorter novels.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

CHASING WICKED, KATHYRN L. JAMES. The Lie of the Land, Amanda Craig

CHASING WICKED, THE MITCHELL BROTHERS,- WICKED SERIES BOOK 1, KATHYRN L. JAMES

Chasing Wicked (The Mitchell Brothers - Wicked Series Book 1) by [James, Kathryn L]

Genre:  Romance, erotica

Well, a good start to a new series if you like a hot and steamy read. I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.
For me I felt the story was a little weak, a wonderful story-line but in practice I felt Stone and Avery had little in common after all those years, and needed to focus a bit more on their lives rather than the hot sex.
Still, its erotica as well as romance, and for many readers heat and sensuality is what they want. Its what I love too but I need to feel the story, the characters are real.

I felt for Avery, what an awful thing to happen and understood her actions.
Stone, when he found out what happened after, is back in her life and they’ve both had a huge life change to take in. Not the best time then to leap into sex…but that doesn’t stop them.
I did feel she was a bit of a doormat for Stone, letting him dictate terms, when she knew that kind of relationship wasn’t for her and would break her eventually. As she keeps saying, she’s got Savannah to think of.
Stone had been through a lot too, and I wondered how he’d ended up owning all those hotels, 54, given what had happened to him in the intervening 6 years.
That’s a heck of a business to grow, when its not the family one he was born into. Even if they funded it initially, it takes time to build sucess like that.
He was so adamant about a sex only relationship, a friends with benefits was all he could offer and then – well, I found his about turn very hard to take. That quick, after all that stone walling (oops, unintended pun there..) earlier, all those proclamations about what he couldn’t do?
There’s some drama at the end and maybe that kind of fright would have felt right for me to change his mind, but it wasn’t that which did it.

Some of the story lines felt a little unfinished to me, there was a good ending, but it wasn’t really clear about reasons and the how and why’s of what happened. Maybe that doesn’t bother others but it left me thinking “how did that, why did he/she, what about…?”

Stars: Three, a hot, sensual and steamy read if you want just that but for me the story lines felt a little thin.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Lie of the Land, Amanda Craig

The Lie of the Land by [Craig, Amanda]

Genre: General Fiction

Usually novels I read have romance somewhere, but I like to read stories that stretch me a bit, make me think “what if” and some of them, as this one does, come under a General Fiction heading. What if Quentin hadn’t had affairs, what if there hadn’t been a recession, what if Xan had got into his chosen uni? As for down in Devon, there’s any number of What Ifs that would change things hugely.

I really, really didn’t like Quentin for at least the first half of the book. He’s like a big kid – its always someone else’ fault, he’s a man, can’t be expected to be faithful, he can’t help his straying ways etc. etc..
Ugh, I hate hearing that,  and it made me wonder what Lottie ever saw in him. Xan seems to hate him now, calls him Dud, which made me snigger. Yet from what we read he idolised him until recently, much his two younger hald sisters still do.

Poor Lottie, they can’t even afford a divorce. Quentin is moaning all the while but it seems she’s the one making sacrifices, getting things to work, dealing with day to day issues, the kids, the house, the lack of money, while he keeps swanning back to London in pursuit of another job, another story, another woman.
He’s acting like one of those awful men who still imagine they’re single and what they’re doing won’t hurt anyone….
When we look deeper into their backstories though its not quite so cut and dried. He still makes me angry, I still think he’s appalling as a husband and father, but do understand him and his actions a little better.

There’s a subtle danger in the so called peace of their retreat though, and they find out the countryside has claws, and its not all rural idyll, bohemian joy and rhapsody, but dreary, damp, dark and dangerous…and that danger comes knocking very, very close to home.
Some of it I’d guessed from the story but not all, there’s a really tangled web to unravel.

There are some great characters here, ones that felt so real, as if I could know them.
The descriptions of country life are spot on at times too, work in factories as grim as Humbles does abound, minimum wage, long hours, zero hours contracts, no regard for safety and no job security.
There are few other jobs in the countryside though. Work is mind numblingly boring, life is hard to cope with, and we see just how so many different families are doing that, most people simply struggling day to day, and a select few are thriving. It’s not just Lottie and Quentin that are having issues, both work and personal, but others that hide their struggles carefully behind a public face. The old UK Putting a Brave Face on, Stiff Upper Lip and all that.

Its not a story I’d reread, very uncomfortable at times, but one which I enjoyed as a one off, one that made me really think about the characters and situations.
What would I have done if I was Lottie? Not let him back home is my first thought, but then he’s a good dad to the girls, was good to Xan when they first got together, and of course she’s the memory of that man and the hope he’ll come back to her.
Will he though, or are the changes too much?

Stars: four, a fascinating read into what can happen to those affected by financial issues, marital issues, jealousy, unplanned pregnancies, lack of quality/well paid work…

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

In Her Blood, (The Dagger Chronicles 1), Janice Jones

In Her Blood, (The Dagger Chronicles 1), Janice Jones

In Her Blood by [Jones, Janice]

Genre:  Romance, New Adult
Edit: Its priced at over £10, $13 for an unknown author…Seriously?? I’m all about supporting writers but that price is way to much. I think twice about paying that for one of my favourite, well established authors.

Well, its termed Romance so I expected there to be some in the book, but apart from some heated action between Jason and Alex towards the end, that’s it for Romance.
Even that feels more like scratching an itch, sex for the sake of it, there’s no real closeness, nothing other than lust between them though there are hints Jason might be feeling more.

I felt there were too many people, too many plots, and there I’m saying that when I hate the simplified, one plot book that pervades the best seller list.
This though feels like Janice has taken every supernatural concept she ever could come up with, every possible connection and thrown it all together. the Blunderbuss effect, throw it all and hope some sticks. It makes for a messy novel though IMO.

I didn’t really like Alex, didn’t dislike her, but there’s nothing special that I can say I like about her personality. I felt for her, but I didn’t understand how she went from A, working as the Dagger for her “father” to B, famous successful business owner. That just doesn’t happen without an awful lot of clout.
Then there’s all her very useful contacts and people owing her favours. how did that happen, so many powerful people knowing her, owing her?
She spent from 13 to 21 as far as I can see locked away underground unless out on a mission with the rest of the team. After that she’s building a base in the human world for her clothing line I assume, so how did she become so close to all these powerful supernaturals. What did she use for funding to build her business?
There’s too many unanswered questions for me to believe this could happen that way.

Jason seemed intriguing when I read the synopsis but I’ve a horrible feeling he’s going to be one of those soft in love types, that become almost emasculated vampires when it comes to their lover ( Think JC from Anita Blake…)
I do wonder how these centuries old vampires survive when a pretty face can make them lose all sense.

There are irritations too, at one point Jason and Coop are talking and “Jason sat back with a grin and took Amy’s water…” Who’s Amy? Its only the two of them meeting.
Then later we’re told Jason was born 115 years ago. OK – so how come later he’s talking to himself “after three centuries of being what I am” – is he 115 or over 300.
The bit about Someone – won’t mention a name ( though if you’re as confused as me it probably wouldn’t matter!) who’s recovering and needs…how shall i put it…a certain type of blood, was a step too far for me, really made me feel uncomfortable.
I just don’t like reading things like that and it wasn’t necessary. shock value writing and not good IMO.

I’ve got all the way through and I’m still confused, so many double deals, blackmails, bait and switch, so many hidden agendas, and those playing both sides that I really aren’t any wiser now I’ve finished.
I really, really wanted to like this book but for me its a fail.

Stars: Two, sorry one that I won’t be continuing with. I tried, I did finish it but am still lost as to whats actually going on.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Wraith Hunter, City of Crows 3, Clara Coulson

Wraith Hunter, City of Crows 3, Clara Coulson

Wraith Hunter (City of Crows Book 3) by [Coulson, Clara]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, sci-fi and Fantasy

This is turning out to be a cracking series, seems to be full of drama, action, puzzles, danger and each day seems to bring Cal and the crew into more of it. It’s not quite like that though, when this story opens its some months after that action of the last book, the gang have taken time to heal from the incredible injuries they incurred back then and that’s as it should be.
When a book is day after day of non stop action it makes me think” who dealt with all this before?” and “who will do xyz when this gang are gone?”
Spaced out over time feels much more fluid and natural than the one-drama-on-top-of-another story lines too many books have.

 

The last two books have proved to be openers for more action, and I love that the vampire who was the catalyst for Cal joining the DSI is in this book, and of course wonder about him and his actions. Are they as cut and dried as they seemed? Or is he just as much a victim of circumstance. Or maybe its just his job, that’s going to make him p iss off a lot of people, maybe it is all about the money for him. Who knows? He’s an intriguing character and I want to read more of him.

I love Cal, he’s a great lead, talented and yet flawed too, he knows he doesn’t have all the answers, knows his limitations but throws himself in wholeheartedly when he believes its needed regardless of the cost to himself.
Erica, oh I hated that bit, what she needed to do, and why she felt she had no alternative. fingers crossed that all works out well.
Cooper – a surprise there? Or not, maybe its another red herring – though book one made me wonder if that might happen. I love storylines that make me wonder what if, and how come, and maybe this will….you know the sort, where you get so involved with characters you think of them as real.
The rest of the gang are there, with a few new guys ( and ladies) joining in and it was great seeing them all again. Like meeting old friends, and making new ones.

Its a fabulous read once more, things to puzzle out, drama and action, dangers, and speaking of which, those elevating zombies – what fun they were. The sly humour that had them dressed up in long coats and carrying scythes.
Its little touches like that which lift this novel up, give some levity to the dark dramas surrounding some of the main plots. There are other little touches worked in too, moments of humour, things that make these characters feel real. We all crack jokes at inappropriate times, that’s the kind of human way of dealing with stress and fright and it works so well here. Thats what separate a good book from the crowd, the little extras that keep us reading.

The plots in this part wrap up well, but open up the wider one that’s been building, and I really want to read more right now!!

Stars: five, another rivetting instalment, whetting my appitite for more. I know when this series is ended its going to be one I reread right through, in a back-to-back reading fest. I love to read series like that, get fully immersed in another world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

I Knew You Were Trouble, An Oxford Novel, Lauren Layne

I Knew You Were Trouble, An Oxford Novel, Lauren Layne

I Knew You Were Trouble: Oxford 4 by [Layne, Lauren]

Genre:  Romance, Humour

I’m always wary when a book is classed as Humour, too often I find its overdone and forced, but Lauren’s books aren’t like that, they’re perfect for me with lots of humour but of the more subdued type. The sort where words and undercurrents provide the laughs, where its what’s left unsaid that is often the part that makes me smile.
Its often clever, subtle snark, not in-your-face, dumbed down comedy.  Its not laugh your head off humour but the gentle sort that makes me smile, feels so satisfying and provides a counterpart to the the emotions floating round the story.

This one was typical, full of drama and action, people with real issues, hard backgrounds, sad stories, who just knuckle down and get on with life and don’t give up, don’t turn it into drudge and bitterness, where the humour shows us they can still smile, can still appreciate the lighter side of life.

I loved Nick back in Lincoln and Daisy’s story, and here we get the full-on Nick experience.
Part time Oxford worker, part time fiction writer and part time bartender, he’s a busy man and yet still finds time to help others, appreciate his freinds. I felt he and Taylor were just perfect together.
If only they could see that…Taylor is prickly though and something about Nick rubs her the wrong way, she snarks at him and he’s reciprocates in a similar vein. Methinks the lady – and the gent – doth protest too much. Its kind of how their freinds feel too.

Taylor though is about to move to a new apartment with the love of her life…until she finds a note at the flat in place of Bradley. The jerk dumps her by a note on moving day. What a first class burke he was, gone back to his old love.

Taylor has a sad past, orphaned young, brought up by a career driven aunt and now she’s no-one left.
She very focused on her career, knocked hard by Bradley’s actions, and feels lost. Lucky she’s got her good friends who can see the attraction between her and Nick, and are on hand with some advice!

Its a fun story, lots going on, great characters that are very believable. You can feel this story, these people could be real, imagine it happening to people you know.
Life is a b itch sometimes, we do get cut back just when it looks like things are going well, and that’s where good friends come in.

I love the whole Oxford crew, Lincoln has a special place in my heart, he and Daisy are my favourite couple, but Nick comes close to Linc, he’s such a lovely man, can see under Taylor’s act, supports her even when he thinks she hates him.
His actions towards the end were hard to take but I understood how he felt, loved the way that played out, the deep emotions that plot engendered.
Have to mention Twinkle (Twinkie?) I adored her, a great character, fitted the story really well 😉

Its another great read, and I know it Should be the last…but Lauren, what about Hunter and Brit? I’m sure there’s loads of us rooting for them too.

Stars: five, a fabulous story, not quite up to Lincoln and Daisy, but very close.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
 

Lip Action by Virna DePaul, Played! A Shamwell Tales novel, JL Merrow


Played!, A Shamwell Tales novel, JL Merrow
Played! (Shamwell Tales Book 2) by [Merrow, JL]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I’ve read and loved Shamwell 1, 3 and 4, so was pleased to fill the gap.
This was another great read, very village life feel, subtle humour as always in JL’s books, and a decent story.

Its a story more than sex book here, the bulk of the novel is Tristan’s thwarted attempts to woo Con. They are so funny when Tristan declaims some quote from a play and Con’s like …err..OK then. Sometimes he’s lost and others he’s on script, can quote back, having spent so much time building sets for the Sham Drams.

Tristan is a product of his background, posh school, moneyed parents and it shows at first in his entitled arrogance. Slowly though the village wears off some of that brittle shine, and his real nature comes through, we see he’s actually quite a caring guy.
Him and Con though, seem to be talking two different conversations at first, especially before Con’s dyslexia and reading issues come out. Con’s ready to assume Tristan’s taking the mick, when really he’s just being his slightly OTT self.

Its a gentle romance, builds slowly but with the usual pressures. Tristan is there for the summer only, Con doesn’t do short term romance, he’s been burned before and isn’t going there.
Then the spectre of New York hangs over Tristan’s head like the Sword of Damocles. He’s going to work there in finance in the family firm, use that expensive education his father’s always complaining about, but his heart dreads it, he loves performing even if it is ting stages in little towns, staying in some pretty dire B&Bs. He loves the actors life, its part of him and he hates giving it up.

I loved meeting the other guys too, the little stories that come out that aren’t attached to the romance and make for a well rounded story.
I really didn’t think I’d like Tristan when we first met him, but as more of his nature came out I found myself sympathetic to his position and wanting things to work between him and Con. Loved the stage setting, even though I’m not a great Shakespeare fan ( all that analyzing of the plays at school took the fun out of his work for me..).

One comment, I liked the old cover so much better, this new one just isn’t the Tristan I have in my head.

Stars: five, a great addition to Shamwell stories

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Lip Action, Virna DePaul

Lip Action (Kiss Talent Agency Book 1) by [DePaul, Virna]

Genre:  Romance,

I’ve mixed feelings about this. parts I liked and other bits not so much.
I loved Marissa but what an awful family she had, especially her mum. What parent wants her daughter to marry a cheating jerk.
Her dad kept quiet, but that’s a cop out IMO, he should have spoken out.

When her mum is pressing her to take back the jerk, the cheater just because she’s 28 and not married….I could scream at her, and of course Marissa won’t but comes up with a fake boyfriend to hold her off for a bit. Coincidentally the guy she’s looking at right then needs a fake girlfriend…

Simon wants the lead in a film that could make him an A list actor, but his past rep lets him down. In a moment of insanity he tells the producers he has a girlfriend….So when he hears Marissa he knows exactly what to do.
OK its a bit of a stretch believing they could meet just like that – but truth is strange sometimes so I’ll go with it.
They then go back and forth, will she won’t she, with pressures on both from his agent and her mum til she finally decides yes. She’s such a nice girl she just can’t let Simon down. even though she hates deception and lies.
Its kind of predictable after that, fun to read but nothing greatly original.
The down side, the drama, the sad bit happens just as you’d expect, and though I love that side I hadn’t really got connected enough to this story and characters to really feel any great emotions.

Its a fun story, easy and lighthearted, some steamy sensuality, and a kind of easy beach read.

Stars:3, its a fun read but not characters or a story I really got involved with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

On Point, (Out of Uniform), Annabeth Albert. Broke Deep, A Porthkennack novel, Charlie Cochrane

On Point, Annabeth Albert

On Point (Out of Uniform) by [Albert, Annabeth]

Genre:  LGBTQIA

I didn’t realise this was a series, with two previous books, nor that it was a spin off from another series which I haven’t read. So many books, so little time and Annabeth is an author whose books I’ve only just begun to touch. Each of these are stand alone reads though, so I was abe to follow easily, though I’d have known more about all the characters if I’d read earlier books.

You know when you’re reading how some authors manage to describe a character and you can mentally “see” them? Well, here I had very clear pictures of Mad and Ben, not from physical descriptions so much as Annabeth’s way of describing what type of person they are. I need that, need to feel I know – and like – characters to get really engrossed in their stories.

Friends to lovers, always a fun read, and of course as always the potential for losing your best friend gets wrapped up in that. Who looks at logics though when the heart is involved?
Mad’s been in love with Ben for a long time now, but kept his feeling locked so tight inside Ben has no idea about them. Now serious injury to them both, re-enlistment time and relationship gaps coincide, and somehow they end up in a possibly-only-for-now relationship.
No end date put on, but one they agree to keep low key around others, and which if things don’t work out won’t spoil their friendship. Hah! As if!

Mad can’t quite believe whats happened, Ben is kind of shocked at how his feelings for Mad have become more than just good mates.
And while they’re both recuperating and hot, steamy sex is out there’s plenty more they can and do try.

Things look to be going well, Ben is determined to make Mad enjoy the dates he arranges, and he’s finding the change form his usual hook-ups only stance novel.
Still, even though on the surface he’s going all in he still denies Love is real, he’s been burned by that in his personal life when his last long term lover left him, and of course by seeing how devastated his dad was and how let down he felt when his mum left him at a young age.
He’s all about enjoy the moment, look forward to things but Love? He’s a real cynic about its existence.

Mad though takes the opposite view, even though his past hasn’t delivered he’s still got his parents happy marriage as a role model and he wants that for himself.
Tough though making a romance work when one wants a solid HEA and the other is convinced that HFN is as good as it gets.
Throw in a secret that affects them both and …can their romance survive? Are Mad’s dreams possible or destined to stay just a fantasy?

Stars: four, a really fun read, great characters and some very real situations between them.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Broke Deep, A Porthkennack novel, Charlie Cochrane
Broke Deep (Porthkennack Book 3) by [Cochrane, Charlie]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved the first two Porthkennack novels, they’re a group of stories by different authors about the small town of Porthkennack. Similar to Riptides Bluewater series which I love.
This series isn’t fixed on a time though so the books can be contemporary as this one is or historical. Great idea right?
Sadly though this one was just an OK read for me. Its a shame as I’ve loved some of Charlie’s other novels and went in to this with great expectations 😉 Maybe that’s the problem, the book just didn’t live up to my perhaps too high hopes.

I found Morgan to be a bit of a selfish jerk when it came to Dominic. He was good to his mother, and that’s tough, seeing a parent with dementia, but when it came to Dominic he was too ready to snap, to blame him, to push him aside. And Dominic’s such a sweet guy, very eager to please, very mild mannered and inoffensive.
To be fair they don’t start off well, Morgan getting a call from him on the day he receives his Dear John letter from his ex, who gave Dom Morgan’s number. Seems Dom knew he was an ex before Morgan…

Its such a slow burn romance that it feels to me that it never really starts. I can’t feel that sizzle, the magic connection between them, just a getting together almost out of convenience. There are moments when there’s something, when Morgan muses over Dom’s smile, when Dom feels Morgan’s eyes on him, but they’re fleeting.
The historical part was interesting, the way over the years tales get told, retold, embellished and the truth can become a thin thread in the story.

The dementia angle is very sad and felt very real, with his mum’s actions being so genuine, and his fears that he could have spotted it sooner very accurate. We do worry about things like that, wonder if we could have done more for a loved one.
Dementia is something that happens to too many people, and Morgan’s fears about it being inherited, about his nightmares, about what is or could happen to him are very real.
I expected more of an ending though, I just felt it kind of fizzled out, I was expecting another chapter, at least some kind of resolution about the dementia fears but suddenly it was then end and I wasn’t ready for it.

Stars: Three, an interesting story but fell a bit short for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
 

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